We need men as feminists: Kalki Koechlin

Sep 02, 2014, 08:57 IST | Kanika Sharma

Watch actor Kalki Koechlin perform a monologue on women’s empowerment for a charitable cause, in Mumbai

"I'm going to share with you a little nursery rhyme," is precisely the point from which actor Kalki Koechlin will start her 17-minute monologue on women's empowerment. From mythology, inherent bias in language, social scenarios to a woman's psyche — Koechlin will string all though her powerful solo act. She will be performing the piece for the first time in front of city audiences as part of the event, Fashion's Night Out.

Kalki Koechlin
Kalki Koechlin (right) during the performance of the play, Colour Blind

Commissioned to devise a monologue on International Women's Day in March by a popular publication, Koechlin was nothing less than excited, "Before the conclave, I had mostly done interaction-based performances. So, the monologue gave me the freedom to say what I wanted," she expresses in a telephonic interview. The piece is cleverly punctuated by a comforting rhythm that is offset by the thought-provoking content Koechlin shares while looking the audience straight in the eye.

Speaking of the extensive nature of the piece, Koechlin shares that there have been several inspirations. "I write a lot, especially diaries. So, for the monologue, I collected all my writings and sat down to amalgamate them," says Koechlin, who literally recounted some of her performances such as the party scene from the monologue.

"That scene comes from a piece I had written while I was brainstorming for my play, The Skeleton Woman. The play was, in fact, based on a folk tale from the book Women Who Run With The Wolves," she shares, while at the same time acknowledging that the activist stance only sprung up in her mind post the Nirbhaya case. She recalls, "I was in Delhi at that time for a workshop for the film Margarita with a Straw. And I was practically doing all those things, taking rickshaws and staying in Greater Kailash, part one. It was so real. I immediately wrote a post on Facebook, after the incident."

The theatre and film actor has since then accrued several followers of her work, courtesy the All India Bakchod video, It's Your Fault. Ever since, Koechlin elevated to the position of an icon in the women's empowerment struggle though ironically, she was about to turn it down due to her busy schedule. She narrates from memory, "I had told Tanmay (Bhat) from AIB that I won't be able to do it. But the moment I finished the script, we were shooting next day at 6 am in the morning."

Koechlin has taken an overt stance of keeping the female figure universal and discounting any personal mention throughout the monologue, as she feels that just amounts to shock value. Instead, she believes in the power of making people laugh and see the sheer stupidity of certain statements. In the end, Koechlin surmises, "We need men as feminists," debunking the notion that men and women are posited opposite each other.

On: September 4, 7 pm
At: Canvas Laugh Club, Palladium, Senapati Bapat Marg.
Call: 43485000

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